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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Even though you know the story this take on it makes you wonder how it will all fit in. It takes the original Jane Austen story and modernizes it without straying far from the original story line which is quite clever considering the time difference. Very enjoyable.
Published 11 months ago by E Hodgson

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars unsuccessful attempt
This review is written on behalf of MAM
This is an unsuccessful attempt to update a well-loved classic.The difficulty in trying to match early 19th century life-style and social manners to 21st attitudes made for awkward and unconvincing reading. What is missing is Jane Austen's wonderful irony. Her understanding of peoples' motives and behaviour is conveyed with...
Published 13 months ago by sylvia colley


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars unsuccessful attempt, 20 Jan. 2014
This review is written on behalf of MAM
This is an unsuccessful attempt to update a well-loved classic.The difficulty in trying to match early 19th century life-style and social manners to 21st attitudes made for awkward and unconvincing reading. What is missing is Jane Austen's wonderful irony. Her understanding of peoples' motives and behaviour is conveyed with cool detachment altogether absent from the modern version
Jane Austen will still be read a hundred years from now, while I doubt if Joanna Trollope's work will be remembered. One wonders why she bothered with such a pointless project,which only demonstrates the superiorty of the original.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The chick-lit version of Sense and Sensibility, 11 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Sense & Sensibility (Hardcover)
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In order to appreciate the nuances of Austen's writing and her witty social commentary, it is necessary to have an understanding of social mores, customs and manners during the time in which she was writing. It is all about context! Therefore, it is very difficult to convey Austen's plots and characters to the modern-day era because so much has changed in the past two hundred years. I am deeply sceptical about the seemingly endless amount of Austen spin-offs and sequels which have been published over the past decade or so. 'Austen mania' is an excellent cash cow for publishers and authors but that cow is being milked to extinction.

I attempted to keep an open mind while I read this updated version of Sense and Sensibility but the same question kept popping into my head: why is it necessary to modernize Jane Austen? Aren't her novels already good enough? Perhaps Trollope wrote this as a tribute to Austen but I think there are far better ways of paying homage to one of the greatest female authors of the nineteenth century.

Parts of this book are mildly entertaining but overall the characters are tedious and faded representations of the originals. Marianne is a complete and utter airhead. I'm not saying she wasn't foolish in the original S&S; she is an infatuated teenage girl for much of the novel. But at least there was context for it. Women had to marry. It was in their best interests because as Austen herself wrote, "Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor". But this novel is set very much in the twenty-first century and the constant yipping about boyfriends and inconsequential fluff made me tune out. After a while, a very short while, you simply want Elinor, Marianne and Mrs Dashwood to stand on their own two feet. To quote an angry Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice, "I take no leave of you, [Ms Trollope], I send no compliments to your parents, You deserve no such attention. I am seriously displeased."

[N.B. The views herein represent those of an Austen purist. Any attempt to criticize Austen or reproduce her writing will be countered with pithy Austen quotes and Regency singing. Thank you for reading.]
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Remake of classic novel which doesn't quite work, 3 Oct. 2013
By 
June Doll "June" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sense & Sensibility (Hardcover)
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The Austen Project is a project whereby all of Jane Austen's novels are being re-worked by contemporary authors. This is the first of such reworkings. I feel that Joanna Trollope, a highly acclaimed author, has been very brave in taking this task on. She has taken the story in Austen's novel and all of her characters, and placed them in a contemporary setting. The problem is that while the characters and storyline may well have been quite believable in the early 19th century when Austen wrote her novel, they are far less believable in 2013. All of the characters, without exception, are either totally obnoxious or completely pathetic. The central character is the saintly Elinor who is such a martyr, and so humourless, that you wish you could kick her up the backside. Her two sisters, especially Marianne, are so selfish, rude and ungrateful, that you actively dislike them. Elinor's romantic interest is Edward who is so wet you could wring him out! The sisters' mother is Belle who is utterly pathetic. She is a mother of three grown up daughters who is completely incapable of looking after herself, far less her daughters. Elinor, like any good martyr, takes full responsibility for her mother and sisters and never utters a word of complaint. What you want her to do, is to stand up for herself and to tell the others what she really thinks. Unfortunately she never does.

The background in which the story takes place is one of the very rich upper classes - a place of country estates and baronets, a place where people routinely own large houses in London and large houses in the country. It is a place where young women (all spoiled and silly) are expected to marry for money. It is a world in which no-one seems to have a job (apart, of course, from the saintly Elinor) and feminism has never been heard of. I found myself thinking of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their uppercrust friends when reading this. However, this is a world to which 99.9% of the British population cannot relate and they will be completely unable to empathise with the lives of the characters portrayed. This is a major failing. It is vital that the reader should sympathise with, and like the major characters in a novel, and I found it impossible to do so with these characters.

I still think Joanna Trollope is an excellent writer, but I do think that she should stick to writing her own novels. I think she made a mistake in getting involved with this. I think that she has been constrained by the story and characters provided by Austen and even she, an accomplished writer, could not overcome these constraints. In her novel, Jane Austen cleverly turned a satirical eye on the society of her time. Unfortunately Joanna Trollope has not succeeded in doing the same, simply because the society and the characters which she portrays are not recognisable to today's readers. A disappointment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, 15 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Sense & Sensibility (Hardcover)
Joanna Trollope can usually be relied on for a light, easy read novel, a bit of fun and nothing too hard to digest. However, this is dumming down to the extreme. Dreadful, really disappointing and very lazy writing. I cringed at the attempts at "modern" teenage language (amazeballs, totes hilare etc etc). Please do not waste time money and energy on this book.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely dire, 29 July 2014
By 
Marand - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sense & Sensibility (Paperback)
This was chosen by my book club. I'll admit I wasn't overly keen on the concept in the first place but the reality was far worse than anything I had envisaged. If I hadn't been reading for book club I would have given up after a couple of chapters. Like some other reviewers I am surprised, to say the least, that Joanna Trollope got involved in this sorry exercise, and mystified as to why she thought it had been successful (there is a Q&A session with her at the end of the Kindle edition).

Trollope says that "I could see that her (i.e. Jane Austen's) characters and narrative would translate seamlessly to 2013 which indeed they do". I find this to be nonsensical. The themes that Jane Austen was exploring in her original novel just do not translate to the current day. The idea that a widow would have to throw herself on the mercies of her male relatives to provide for her future is beyond a joke. Equally, the idea that young middle class women today spend their time fretting over making a good marriage is just too funny: unless my family & acquaintances are very unusual the pre-occupation of young women of the age of the Dashwood girls is to get good A-levels to progress to a good university with the intention of pursuing a career in which they will earn their own money to pay for their own mortgage, buy designer label clothes and a nice car. Yet the "girls" Trollope presents, even sensible Elinor, are vapid in the extreme, and completely unbelievable. I am baffled, too, by the idea that Trollope thinks she has made Marianne likeable - it is hard for me to imagine a more pointless, self-indulgent dolt in this telling of the story.

Nothing about the story rings true, the whole thing is laughable in the extreme, the characters are shallow and few if any could be considered likeable. Am I really expected to believe that Elinor must give up university because they have no money and she is moving to Devon - I thought there were student loans and that the majority of university students still lived away from home? None of the family appear to much idea about the world of work, the need to insure cars, etc.. Marianne is supposedly an asthmatic yet when she has a major attack, her sister, who was fully aware of this, has to go to Bill Brandon for help - the idea that she might dial for an ambulance herself, that it would have been quicker and therefore safer to do so, seems to have escaped her. Then, there is heroic Bill "forcing immediate attention in A and E": surely the arrival of an ambulance would have drawn attention by itself?

Immediately after reading this sorry publication I decided to re-read Jane Austen's original. What a relief to find well-drawn characters, a nuanced read with wit & lightness of touch. It is a shame that Joanna Trollope, who normally writes so well about contemporary family life, is shamed by this nonsense. What she has produced here is chic-lit of the worst type.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity, 12 Jan. 2014
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This is hugely disappointing, and almost an insult to Austen. Trollope appears to have taken the basic plot of Auten's novel, thrown in some reference to social media, reality TV, and drug misuse, and considered that that to be her work done on "modernising" of Austen. Anything of the wit or commentary on society and social mores that make Jane Austen's novel a classic is completely missing. Trollope's characters are universally shallow and unlikeable, in particular Marianne. Don't bother with this chick-lit version - read Austen's.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unrealized Potential, 4 Dec. 2013
By 
clahain (Las Vegas, Nevada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sense & Sensibility (Hardcover)
Unlike some Jane Austen lovers, I have never minded re-tellings, imagined sequels, or even parodies of her masterpieces. I even managed to get through the one that had Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy battling zombies. My major criticism of that author's efforts had nothing to do with the presence of the walking dead, but rather his leaden and unimaginative characterizations. However, there was a strange affinity between Pride & Prejudice, one of Austen's most humerous works, and the irreverence of the modern brain-munching mash-up.

Austen's Sense & Sensibility is a darker book. Its themes of avarice, beautified villainy, and the very real dangers to women of the author's era left impoverished by birth or circumstance show us a world far more dangerous than Meryton, Highbury or even the two-faced playground of Bath. In some ways, this makes the book more amenable to meaningful modernization. Anyone who has lived through even a portion of the 20th and 21st centuries understands how deeply a society can fail its people.

Instead of interpreting the original against the mixed-bag of opportunity and inequity that is contemporary England--or any modern country--Joanna Trollope skims off the very top layer and hands it an mp3-player and the keys to an SUV. While Elinor Dashwood, Edward Ferres and Bill Brandon retain some of the complexity that have made them so fascinating for two centuries, the other characters disappoint. Marianne, Margaret and Isabelle Dashwood, especially, are barely likable. They are petty and nasty and almost as unkind to the family offering them shelter (the Middletons, Mrs. Jennings) as the people who have supposedly treated them so poorly. Is an inheritance of 200,000 pounds sterling (over $300,000 US)to women who are literate and basically able-bodied really impoverishment? Does it truly rip them from their social moorings the way it did to Austen's originals? These Dashwoods are eccentrics to begin with, bohemians who luck into life in a stately home. Austen's originals were fairly conventional--their class WAS the world as they knew it and lived in it.

Other issues for me: Trollope making Marianne's asthma such an extreme case, which relieves both author and character of the responsibility of demonstrating genuine growth. John Willoughby is in and out of the picture so fast and so dramatically, that the reader can't even pretend along with Marianne that the relationship was based on anything more than her own fantasies. When Willoughby's biggest sin is revealed, it is so over-the-top, it cannot be reconciled with the wispy outline of the man we've been given. Here, at least, Trollope would have been better off sticking close to her model, an underage girl seduced, a baby abandoned, as big a tragedy now as in Jane Austen's time.

I will say the second half of the book is much richer than the first half, but that's Elinor truly shining, along with Marianne finally demonstrating some humanity, and the gruesome Steele sisters creating havoc. All good stuff that gave me lots of satisfaction as a reader. On the technical side, the second half didn't escape Trollope's tendency to separate speaker from dialogue. Considering how heavily her plot relies on conversation, this leads to confusion. Many times I had to re-read passages to figure out who said what.

Trollope's Sense & Sensibility isn't a bad book. It does misunderstand and misrepresent the original.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This updated classic doesn't really work., 19 Dec. 2013
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Joanna Trollope has cleverly kept to the characters and incidents in the original but certain things just don't work when moved into the modern day. In the original there were almost no opportunities for ladies of that class to work, unless they perhaps became governesses. I was surprised to find myself irritated by the mother, Marianne, Margaret and even Edward Ferrars (who seemed to have completely taken over by Hugh Grant). Eleanor's mother and sisters accept hospitality from the Middletons and demonstrate great ingratitude and they are so scathing about Eleanor's attempts to work and thus earn money to support them, while they themselves seem work-shy spongers. Towards the end I found myself hoping Joanna Trollope would arrange for the two nicest people Eleanor and Brandon to marry each other but alas she didn't.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money, 18 Nov. 2013
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As a Jane Austen fan I'm have read most of the spin offs ( Longbourn by Jo Baker was amazing) but this was just so predictable and boring and just didn't work in any sense (sorry) at all. You felt nothing for the cardboard cutout characters and although I did finish it I'm not sure why I did. Lets hope that the rest of the Jane Austen project proves more inrteresing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shameful!, 2 Mar. 2014
By 
D Brown (Nuneaton, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sense & Sensibility (Hardcover)
I suggest you only buy this book if you've never read the original Jane Austen version! I think it's shameful that the Publishers, Harper Collins, and the author, Joanna Trollope, have got away with publishing this. My hard back version has an rrp of £18.99 and I can only imagine what profit the publishers are making from it. If it were any other item, I'd be asking for a refund under the Sale of Goods Act, only it was bought for me as a birthday present and so I can't even contemplate that route, even if it was available to me.

We are told on the inside of the sleeve that this casts Sense and Sensibility is a "fresh new light". I don't think so! The only "new light" here is that the characters live in this century rather than the 18th century. And what characters they have become - all dislikeable, apart from Bill Brandon who is far too good for the utterly selfish Marianne. I was ready to throw in the towel after Chapter 1 but then wondered if the author was about to do something clever with the storyline - Elinor and Bill Brandon getting together perhaps? But no, despite my optimism, nothing changed. Elinor ended up with Edward, despite the fact that she had shown absolutely no affection for him, and Marianne looked set to settle for Bill Brandon, despite the fact that she had spent much of the book looking down her nose at him. Disappointing doesn't even come close!

The book is said to be copyright of Joanna Trollope 2013 and, on that basis, we are also told that "The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author's imagination". This is quite frankly deceitful. The names and characters are the work of Jane Austen, not Joanna Trollope. Even the incidents are based on those in the original.

I've never read any other books by Joanna Trollope and certainly won't be reading any after this.
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Sense & Sensibility
Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope (Hardcover - 24 Oct. 2013)
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